October 1998

The Microform Preservation Storage Vault (MPSV), operated by the Alabama Department of Archives and History (ADAH), strives to provide the best possible storage and security for the preservation masters of microfilmed government records with retention periods of 25 years or longer. Preservation masters are first-generation silver-halide microfilm in reel or jacketed form, aperture cards, microfiche, and other formats. ADAH keeps its own preservation masters in the MPSV. So that the department may adequately protect the vault's other holdings, agencies must provide a description of the record information on microforms that they submit, and must ensure that their microforms meet quality standards established by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and the Association for Information and Image Management (AIIM). Requirements for microform storage are outlined in detail below.

1. Microforms Eligible for Storage

Only the preservation master (first-generation, silver-halide negative microform) of records scheduled for 25-year retention or longer is acceptable for deposit in the MPSV. All transmitted microforms must have been inspected by the responsible agency to determine that the records have been filmed in the correct sequence and with the correct targets. ADAH will not edit film deposited for content. The agency is also responsible for ensuring that all appropriate ANSI/AIIM standards were followed in the preparation, filming, quality control, and processing of transmitted microforms. Copies of the standards may be borrowed from a library or purchased from AIIM.

2. Preparing Preservation Microforms for Storage

Agency staff should place the preservation master in an airtight, inert plastic box for transfer to the MPSV. Prior to transferring the preservation master, create from it a second-generation, silver-halide service master which will be used to make all additional duplicates (third-generation reference copies). Keep the service master at another site. Once transferred to the MPSV, the preservation master will only be removed from the vault if it becomes necessary to replace the service master. This procedure minimizes the danger of contaminating the preservation master and helps to prevent rapid environmental changes within the vault. Aperture cards and microfiche transferred to the MPSV must be individually jacketed or held in acid-free, unbuffered paper sleeves within acid-free containers.

3. Transmitting Scheduled Microforms

Use the attached Microform Transmittal Form to transmit the microforms. All previous transmittal forms are now superseded. If the agency has a records disposition authority (RDA), the function pertaining to the microfilmed records should be listed on the transmittal form. Agencies without RDAs should list the current disposition schedule(s), as established by the Local Government Records Commission, covering all microfilmed records on the transmittal form. Microforms will be returned to a depositor unless the records disposition authority or schedule is listed. For a reel to be acceptable for storage, some records on it (preferably all) must be scheduled for a retention of 25 years or longer. The microfilm transmittal form should accompany the listed microforms when they are sent to the MPSV.

4. Microform Evaluation Procedures

The MPSV's Quality Control Specialist reviews the physical condition of all microforms sent for deposit. Causes for rejecting a preservation master may include: excessive handling, scratches, fingerprints, clearly substandard density (below 0.8 or above 1.3), substandard resolution (under 120), inappropriate splicing, inappropriate containers, excessive splices, mixed types of microform, or inappropriate fastening devices such as rubber bands. If any depositor's microform is rejected for storage in the MPSV, the reason(s) will be listed on a Microform Evaluation Form. A copy of this evaluation form, along with a letter of explanation, will be returned to the agency with the rejected microform.

After the rolls have met all requirements for storage, a location number will be assigned to each roll of film. The number is placed on the film box and on the transmittal form to identify the roll. A copy of the transmittal form, showing the location number assigned to each roll, will be returned to the agency. If a roll should be needed from the vault (to make a another service master or for some other reason), the agency should be able to provide the location number from its copy of the transmittal form.

The Alabama Department of Archives and History will periodically conduct a sampling test of microfilm stored in the MPSV. If any rolls are found to be contaminated, ADAH staff will fill out an evaluation form, notify the agency, and return the rolls. If records on a contaminated roll have not reached their legal disposition date, a silver duplicate can be made and placed in the vault as a new preservation master.

For more information on the standards and procedures to be followed in microfilming government records, see the ADAH technical leaflet, "Preparing a Contract for Archival-Quality Microfilming Services," available from the Government Records Division.

Additional assistance is available from:

Alabama Department of Archives and History
Government Records Division
P.O. Box 300100
Montgomery, AL 36130-0100
Telephone: (334)242-4452 FAX: (334)240-3433

ADAH web site: .

NOTE: The form may be duplicated as often as needed for transmitting microforms.



Page _____ of _____

1. FROM:

Agency: __________________________________________________________

Office: ___________________________________________________________

Address: _________________________________________________________

Date of transfer: _________________________________________________

Film Processed by: ______________________________________________

Is there a service master? ______ yes ______ no

3. Agency records liaison: ________________________________________

Title: _____________________Telephone no.: ____________________


ADAH Government Records Division

P.O. Box 300100

Montgomery, AL 36130-0100

Telephone: (334)242-4452

Fax: (334)240-3433






Date Received: ____________________________ Quantity: ___________________ Type Film: ___________________________________

Reviewed by: _________________________________________________________ Date: ________________________________________


All transmitted microforms must contain records with a retention period of 25 years or longer to be acceptable for storage in the Microform Preservation Storage Vault (MPSV). SPECIAL REQUIREMENT TO PROTECT FILM AGAINST CONTAMINATION AND POLLUTION: Send all reels to the MPSV in airtight plastic containers.

  1. Print or type your agency's name and address, the date of transfer, and the name of the laboratory that processed your microform. Note if a service master is available for duplication. Remember that the preservation master will not be used for duplication.

  2. The ADAH Records Center's address, telephone number, and fax number are provided here for your convenience.

  3. List the name of a contact person (with title) from your agency, and the person's telephone number (with area code).

  4. List the roll numbers for all transmitted microforms.

  5. Referring to your agency's records disposition authority (RDA), list the function or subfunction applying to records microfilmed on all listed rolls. Include a copy of your RDA with the transmittal.


  1. List the local government schedule number (LG- ) applying to records microfilmed on all listed rolls.

  2. List the records series title or description, exactly as it is written on the records schedule or RDA. Any additional information on the records' content will be helpful.

  3. List the date span covered by records microfilmed on all transmitted rolls.

  4. List the disposition date (the date the records can legally be destroyed), according to their RDA or retention schedule. If the RDA or schedule lists these records as permanent, type or print "PERMANENT."

  5. Each roll's location number will be provided by ADAH. Leave this blank empty.

  6. This area is for ADAH use only. Leave it empty.

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Revised: 10/29/98